Construction - Inlay

Much information exists on the art of inlay. It’s doubtful I have anything meaningful to add.  Though pearl work always catches people’s eye, in reality, it’s one of the easier—or at least more controllable—aspects of building.

The photo here shows two sets of the traditional fern pattern, ready for final shaping. Two or three sharp needle files help clean up the edges, even out the curves, and tighten up the joinery. Running a folded piece of 220 or 320 grit sandpaper through the tighter saw-kerfs helps smooth out the edges where files can’t reach.

As when fashioning the many other contours comprising an f-model, regardless of how many patterns and jigs are used, relying on a sense of aesthetics or artistry helps “get it right.”


Inlay 2


One suggestion I would offer is to use a dab of white glue to fill or cover the joints where the different pieces of pearl meet before adding any filler. Whether working with pearl or binding, it is disheartening to do a nice job of joinery and then have your seemingly perfect joints highlighted by a dark line of stain or filler seeping in.


Inlay 3

I'm in awe of the designer that created this pattern so many years ago.